Ria gains invaluable experience as a mentee at QBE

Fri 18 May 2018

Man and woman in business attire working together adding ideas to a whiteboard

When Ria Guha first heard about the Australian Network on Disability (AND)’s PACE Mentoring program, she was looking for an opportunity to break out of the university bubble and experience what it’s like to be in the workplace.

The 21-year-old from Pennant Hills in Sydney was studying design at the University of NSW. The university’s Disability Services section gave her information about PACE, which connects students and jobseekers with disability with mentors in their field of interest.

For Ria, this meant a chance to gain valuable workplace exposure and build networks within the advertising and design industry.

Ria was matched with Stevie, Brand and Marketing Communications Manager at QBE. Stevie’s expert knowledge and enthusiasm for supporting a mentee meant that over the 12-week program, the two of them could set goals and work towards achieving them.

“Coming into this program, my main goal was to get more familiar with what the workplace is from somebody who is very experienced. I wanted to see the types of things I can do with my degree, and what steps I could take to see what else is out there”, Ria said.

Ria was welcomed into the QBE office and soon got a feel for the corporate environment. Together with Stevie, they worked on her writing skills and resume development. Stevie offered professional guidance by reflecting on his own career journey, having worked across the globe on different ad campaigns. 

“Ria and I connect with our shared interest in advertising. With the knowledge I have from my career, I give her advice on what she should focus on moving forward, and some of the tools she should develop as she goes through her university degree”, Stevie said. 

Ria’s disability isn’t visible, she had a kidney transplant in 2008 after living much of her life with kidney disease. For her, it means that sometimes things take a little longer to complete. She recognises this challenge and explains that it can lead to gaps in one’s resume or university transcript.

“I think this has led to me being quite nervous in interviews or when meeting with prospective employers”, she said.

Working with Stevie allowed Ria to develop her communication skills and build confidence in herself and her abilities. When asked whether she’d encourage other jobseekers to sign up for PACE, Ria exclaimed,

“I would say that it’s a really great opportunity and the earlier you can do it, definitely the better. If you are successfully matched with a mentor, prepare your goals and make the maximum use of every session that you have”.

Find out more about AND's PACE Mentoring program

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